RSS Feed

Tag Archives: taking a leap of faith

On My Way

If you are searching for someone to follow, you’ll probably witness a fair share of blaming others, passing the buck and victimology. If you feel trapped by a negative environment, you might be tempted to sit tight, unsure of where to go and what to do. However, at some point you have to take a leap of faith. As you endure this internal tug of war, what is keeping you from going on your way?

O you poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless Galatians! Who has fascinated or bewitched or cast a spell over you, unto whom—right before your very eyes—Jesus Christ (the Messiah) was openly and graphically set forth and portrayed as crucified? Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing [the message of the Gospel] and believing [it]? [Was it from observing a law of rituals or from a message of faith?] – Galatians 3:1-2

During the first century, the apostle Paul visited the region of Galatia. The four cities which comprised this church are Antioch (near Pisidia), Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. Apparently, a religious sect arose from Galatia and infiltrated this church. Thus, Paul writes a letter inquiring about the Judaizers who added Jewish practices to salvation. A modern comparison would be if you are not baptized in a specific way, you’re not really saved. Paul wants to get these believers back on track so that they can go in the way where God desires.

You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) your heeding and following the Truth? This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ]. A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church], Galatians 5:7-9.

While most people who have attended church at some point in life have heard of the sinful nature, few know the inspiration behind Paul’s words in Galatians 5:16-25. When legalism, peer pressure and uncertainty paralyze your faith, souls must be awakened to the invisible spiritual forces that are present. Until individuals learn how to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, fear will keep many Christians stagnant. Therefore, if you want to go on your way by faith, listen and learn by implementing Paul’s teaching to the Galatians.

by Jay Mankus

When God Uses Less Than Perfect Places

Due to prejudices that exist, accomplishments of certain individuals are brushed aside, ignored or neglected.  During Black History Month in America, its important to recall how God can use less than perfect places to further His will on earth.  In the Old Testament, God sends Abraham to Gerar during a time of famine.  Oddly enough, when translated into English, Gerar means to drag off roughly.  Infested with Philistines, a land of giants eager to display their dominance over others is the city that God chose as a place of refuge for the founding father of Israel.  Sometimes trusting God requires extreme faith, overlooking clear and present dangers for hidden treasures revealed in the future.

Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines, Genesis 26:1.

In the early first century, certain towns had become a haven for criminals.  Nazareth developed a reputation for being a tough place to live, with rampant crime.  These reports poisoned the mind of Nathanael, doubting if any good could ever come out of this place.  Despite the evidence leading to Jesus as the promised Messiah of the Old Testament, many were skeptical.  Instead of listening to rumors, Philip encourages his friend to just come and see, to find out for yourself.  Unfortunately, stereotypes stifle people from different backgrounds from really getting to know each other.  Perhaps, the enemy, the Devil uses this strategy to prevent intimate friendships from developing on earth, keeping atheists from taking a leap of faith to trust Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip, John 1:45-46.

I have spent the majority of my life on earth living in or near Wilmington, Delaware.  I spent three years at an inner city school, Harlan Elementary, using sports as a way to connect with African Americans and Hispanics.  When I was on the basketball court at recess, I wasn’t a cracker or honkey.  I was a normal kid trying to fit in by doing what he loved.  Today, Wilmington is often in the news for the wrong reasons, ranking in the top ten for murder rates for its size and number one in teenage pregnancy.  Sure, for those teens trapped in this hopeless environment, the percentages for success isn’t high.  Yet, if God can use places like Gerar and Nazareth, then anything is possible for those who believe, Matthew 21:22.

by Jay Mankus

The Missing Piece to a Puzzle

As a child, my parents chose Thompson Lake, Maine as the spot for our family vacation.  Every August for a decade, my father took any where from one to three weeks off to reconnect with family.  Before this trip, my mom or dad picked up a large jigsaw puzzle, usually between 5000 and 10000 pieces.  These puzzles became a family tradition to complete on cold and rainy days or uneventful evenings.  Without a television to distract us, corners were completed first, then the hard part began.  Filling in grass, mountains, the sky or water was an endless pursuit of trial and error, trying to see if nearly identical pieces would fit.  When this tough stretch was completed, anticipation grew as pieces were put in place fast and furious.  Unfortunately, there were a couple of puzzles that any came with 4999 and 9999, missing the final piece to the puzzle.  Despite a fervent search of the floor, nothing was uncovered, leaving a bitter taste of disappointment.

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?” – Luke 15:8

The idea that puzzles intertwines with life has some traction.  Sometimes individuals find themselves faced with a difficult decision, a dilemma or struggling to grasp why something they want has not been granted.  The reason behind earthly trials isn’t usually known at the time you go through it, yet time has a way of revealing answers to unsolved mysteries.  During these periods of uncertainty, I often feel like a missing piece to a puzzle.  The only problem is every time I think I’ve found exactly where I think I fit in life, I discover that my gifts, skill set or talents don’t match, unable to complete the puzzle.  At this point, there is a temptation to betray your true identity by asking others, “who do you want me to become?”

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines, 1 Corinthians 12:11.

The apostle Paul refers to a church as a body with many parts.  Similar to a jigsaw puzzle, it takes time to figure who you should connect with and what role best suits your personality.  If you take 1 Corinthians 12 literally, local churches are like unfinished jigsaw puzzles waiting for the right individual to come and serve.  Unfortunately, a growing mindset of what’s in it for me is preventing couples or families from taking a leap of faith.  Anyone burned by past negative experiences are gun shy, afraid of reliving the pain of broken relationships.  In the end, each person possesses unique gifts or talents no one else can offer.  Yet, free will is designed to allow you to get involved when your ready.  Therefore, if this blog finds you struggling to fit in, may the Holy Spirit lead you to complete another church, puzzle or soul.

by Jay Mankus

Is it Worth the Sleepless Nights?

I have a tendency to dream big, develop amazing visions that only someone who is rich and famous should possess.  Yet, I press on, taking a leap of faith, trying to maximize my time, pushing my God given talents to the limit, hoping that I will taste success one day soon.  However, a part of me still wonders, “is it worth the sleepless nights?”

For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear, Ecclesiastes 5:7.

According to one of the wisest to ever walk the face of the earth, dreaming is something you should be weary of.  I’m assuming Solomon is referring to those individuals focusing on a life outside of God’s will in the passage above.  Ultimately, God is whom you should fear.  Nonetheless, my greatest fear is living an entire life without using the unique gifts God has blessed me with.  Therefore, I will continue to endure sleepless nights until I find my place in this world.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future, Jeremiah 29:11.

While some my think I’m nuts, I believe God allowed me to lose my teaching position so that I could begin to write movie scripts.  Five years later, I have completed three films, the last in record time, less than 11 months.  I’m not sure why I have received visions on a trilogy about the Devil’s invisible attacks on mankind, but I know I need to be faithful to this calling.  Where this leads me, only God knows.  For now, its off to the editing process and copy righting, before sending this script off to Hollywood.  Perhaps, this year is the one that will put me on the map.  If not, the only thing standing in my way of success is another sleepless night.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Extraordinary Faith

One day, Jesus’ disciples were ease dropping, listening to him talk to a rich young ruler, Matthew 19:16-22.  Although books don’t often mention facial expressions like the movies or television, I get the feeling Peter was shaking his head in disbelief as this righteous man went home disappointed by Jesus’ response.  In fact, Matthew tells us that all 12 disciples began to question their own faith, wondering if they could be saved? – Matthew 19:25

Based upon this passage, without Jesus, everyone is ordinary.  The apostle Paul is even more blunt in Romans 3:9-12.  Yet, one verse changes the mood of all of those in attendance, Matthew 19:26.  According to Philippians 4:13, what was once thought improbable is now possible through Jesus, God’s son.  This sudden change or “Hail Mary,” a football term for last ditch effort at victory is illustrated by the song, When God Ran.

Tomorrow night, I am beginning a 12 week adventure, a Bible Study series called Extraordinary Faith.  I am not sure who is going to show up at my house from 8-9 pm, but I am trusting God to bring those individuals He has called.  This reinvention or revolutionary glimpse at discipleship will transform hearts ready to serve.  While demons of doubt are likely already at work, trying to spoil this event, I believe in an extraordinary faith that can and will demolish strongholds in the end, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  This Study will be made available through Google Docs for those interested in bringing it to your home town.  Contact me on Facebook if the Holy Spirit places on burden on your heart to lead or host this study.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: